JAY – Kaylie DeMillo has already had a basketball season few others could dream about, but the Jay standout guard still has plenty of unfinished business.

“We’ve still got a lot of season left,” said the Tiger sharp shooter, who says the playoffs and a Gold Ball are always atop her list of goals. “Dirigo was a huge win, but we’ve got to keep working hard every game. We just have to get to the ACC (Augusta Civic Center) and then work in the offseason to get ready for next year.”

DeMillo is trying to look forward and not rest on any laurels, but the junior who became a household name as a freshman has already had a season likely unrivaled in Tiger history.

DeMillo not only reached the 1,000 point mark early in her junior year, she became the school’s all-time leading scorer in girls’ basketball two days later. Both achievements are impressive so early in a career, but DeMillo barely blinks at the thought of them.

“I tried not to think about those too much,” said DeMillo. “I don’t like to put a lot of pressure on myself. I’m glad they’re behind me, and I can enjoy the rest of the season. I’m sure I’ll look back on them and see that they’re a big accomplishment.”

DeMillo was honored with the rest of Jay’s 1,000-point scorers Saturday night prior to a loss to Telstar. DeMillo surpassed Jane Hamel’s 1,015 points in December and is closing in fast on John Cornelio, the school’s all-time scorer with 1,392.

Then came the victory over the two-time defending state champions from Dirigo. The Cougars have been a source of frustration for many a Class C team, but none more than Jay. During DeMillo’s career, her Tigers had at least two near misses in knocking off the Cougars – one in the Western C semifinals. This time, the Tigers finished the job.

“It’s been a good ride this year, I think,” said DeMillo. “Beating Dirigo was definitely nice. It’s been in the back of our minds since early in the season.”

DeMillo was a promising talent her freshman year. She earned a starting role in the backcourt and has been Jay’s chief playmaker ever since.

“I didn’t really know what I was going into,” said DeMillo of her first season. “But I just had to do it and had to keep up. It was definitely a big step from middle school to high school.”

She’s currently averaging nearly 24 points per game while earning 4.5 rebounds, four steals and four assists.

“She’s does a lot, but she gets a lot of minutes too,” said Jay coach Chris Bessey.

Besides her skills as a ballhandler and shooter, you won’t find many players more competitive and determined. Since making a splash as a freshman and establishing herself as one of the MVC’s elite, she’s tried to progress and hone every aspect of her game.

“She used to force a lot as a freshman,” said Bessey. “But her shooting percentage has gone up. She’s been shooting about 50 percent inside the 3-point line and about 40 percent outside. Her shooting percentage has gone way up, and her turnovers have gone way down.”

DeMillo says she’s tried to improve as a defensive player and evolve more into a leadership role. Her improved passing skills has helped create more balance and incorporate other players in the Tiger offense.

As a three-year starter, she’s extended her role as a team leader. She is jay’s go-to player.

“I think they respect you a little bit more when you’ve been in the league for a couple of years,” said DeMillo.

“You get more used to the players in the league and the teams that you play. You know what to expect when you go into a game, and you just try to help the younger kids.”

DeMillo says she’s unsure about college plans yet, but with more milestones possible, she could be a catch for some program in the future.

“She’s always had the goal to play at the next level,” said Bessey. “I think she could definitely play at Division III. I think she could step right in and play there. She might have higher goals to play at Division II or at a smaller Division I.”


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